I’d like to start this by saying I am no means a professional in terms of monitoring these flights, I know enough however to help y’all out!
If you’ve noticed that occasionally I’ll post screenshots of military aircraft of all sorts of different countries, and have ever wondered how I’m doing that, this is the guide for you.
First off, there’s a wonderful website that we’ll be starting with, and that website is https://www.adsbexchange.com/. This website has both military and civilian aircraft, as well as aircraft that’re marked “interesting”, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
So, once you’ve navigated to this website, the first thing you’re going to want to do is click “Currently Tracking xxxx aircraft” on the right side of the page.
Next, once the page has loaded up you’ll see your map. In order to scroll out, use your mouse wheel and scroll down, which will zoom out, mouse wheel up will scroll in, which will allow you to see towns, and even street names.
First thing I usually do is click where you see the red arrow. Now, this will have all of your different map selections, the one I frequently use is “Carto Dark” as it has all of the countries translated into their English name, and the black theme is very easy on my eyes.
Next, click on the “menu” option on the left side of the screen next to the +/- options.
Once you click on that, select the “options” menu. It’ll then open up the options screen. Once you’re in that menu, select the “Filters” option. When you’ve opened that you’ll be presented with the following box.
When you’re on this screen, select the check box to the left of “Enable filters”. Doing this will enable the filter feature built into the website. Next, select the drop down box that says “Airport”. In here, you’ll want to select “Military”. Once you see “Military” in the box that previously said “Airport”, select “Add Filter”. Then, make sure you click the little tick box to the left of “Military”, which will then enable the filter.
So now, you’ve added the military aircraft filter onto your website, which means that only flights that’re designated as a military flight (occasionally other flights that’re civilian will show up, which is just an error on the website, ignore it) will show on your map.
Now, if you’re interested in viewing “Interesting” aircraft as well, go back into your filters, select the drop down box, and click “Interesting”, and simple add the filter like you did with military flights, and make sure you enable it. This’ll add flights that’re given the “Interesting” tag, which will show police helicopters, US Marshall flights, and other things.
Something else I’ll do, and this is purely objective and you can change this to your liking, is I’ll adjust what displays on the far right side, which shows your aircraft and shows details about it, such as the silhouette of the aircraft, the type of aircraft, and a few other things.
In your “Menu” section, click “Options” and then select “List”. Once you’re in here you’ll see at the bottom “List settings”. This displays all of the different details that’re displayed on the right side of your screen, in the list of aircraft. Notice in the picture how the settings are the same thing showing on the right side of the screen.
If you’d like you can copy the settings I have above, but feel free to change the settings to what you please. Just make sure you unlock the settings using the blue lock button seen in the photo above.
Now, you’ll almost certainly come across aircraft that make you go “Hmm, what could this aircraft be?”. If you come across this aircraft, simply use Google to search the name of the aircraft. For example, if I see an E-6 Mercury with the US Navy, I’d Google “US Navy E-6B Mercury” and it’ll provide me with details about the aircraft.
It’s important to note that just because you see a B-52 bomber (yes, you’ll see these sometimes) that we aren’t heading to war. 9/10 times these aircraft are airborne for training purposes, or just simple routine flights.
Also! This website does not show every single flight that’s airborne. It’s not perfect, but if you’d like to help them you can become a feeder for them. If you’d like to be a feeder for them, visit the link here, it’d be greatly appreciated for them, and people like myself who rely on the website for tracking military flights. https://www.adsbexchange.com/how-to-feed/
If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to direct message me on twitter, or send me a discord friend request and direct message me there, I’ll be happy to assist you in any way I can. Thanks guys!